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Subject: Automated Wu-Feng rss

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Galen Ciscell
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Note: I will be updating this initial post to reflect the most recent version of the automated Wu-Feng variant, based on play testing and feedback from other users.

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 9, 2011.

Ghost Stories: Black Secret
Automated Wu-Feng Variant

Set-up

Insert one or more incarnations of Wu-Feng into the Ghost deck instead of the Summon cards, based on the difficulty level desired.

Place all Curses next to the Wu-Feng board, stacked in piles by color for each level.

You may wish to keep several dice and a coin close at hand for randomly determining elements of Wu-Feng’s turn.

Draw a Ghost

Follow the script below, in order, until an action has been chosen.

1. If the Ghost is black, play it, unless it would allow Wu-Feng to cast a level 4 Curse (in which case, cast the level 4 Curse).
2. If the Ghost is a Haunter, Tormentor or Devourer, play it.
3. If the Ghost would make a player (not a neutral bard) lose his power, play it.
4. If the Ghost would overrun a board, play it.
5. Summon the highest-resistance Demon that can be summoned with the Ghost.
6. If the Ghost has resistance 1 or 2 and the color of the ghost matches an available Curse, throw the highest possible Curse of that color (from the top of the stack).
7. Play the Ghost.

When placing a Ghost on a board, Wu-Feng places the Ghost in the first open slot (from right to left) on the appropriate board, following all normal placement rules.

A Ghost that cannot be placed on the appropriate board (because it is already full) is placed on the board with the most Ghosts already present, defaulting to the player to the left of the active player, then around to the left in the case of ties.

Summoning Demons

A summoned Demon appears at the entrance closest to a pile of Catacomb tokens, giving preference to the pile with the fewest tokens remaining. Otherwise, choose randomly (you may wish to flip a coin). Exception: The Seeker with the ability to enter play anywhere always appears directly on the lowest pile of tokens in the Catacombs.

Demon Actions

A Demon on an unoccupied space with Catacomb tokens remaining on it searches the space.

A Demon on an empty space or on a space occupied by one or more Taoists moves out of the space toward the nearest pile of Catacomb tokens. If several piles are equally close to the Demon, the Demon moves toward the smallest pile. If there is still a tie, roll randomly to determine the direction of the Demon’s movement. Exception: The Landscaper with the ability to search regardless of the presence of Taoists always does so.

Adding an Incarnation of Wu-Feng to Wu-Feng’s hand

Whenever you would add an incarnation of Wu-Feng to Wu-Feng’s hand because of a Catacomb tile or a Curse, instead draw and play the top card of the Ghost deck (do not use it to summon a Demon or throw a Curse).

The Shadow of Wu-Feng

If the Shadow of Wu-Feng activates on a tile with a Taoist present, it attacks that Taoist with all four Tao dice (Qi loss on a roll of black).

If no Taoist is present on the tile, roll a die.
• On a roll of red, blue, yellow or green, the Shadow of Wu-Feng moves to that Taoist’s space and attacks him with two dice (Qi loss on a roll of black). If the color rolled corresponds to a neutral board, that board automatically loses 1 Qi.
• On a roll of black or white, the Shadow of Wu-Feng remains on its current tile and rolls the Curse Die, according to the rulebook.

Ladders

If Wu-Feng is allowed to remove a Ladder, always remove the center Ladder, if possible. Otherwise, remove a Ladder at random (you may wish to roll an 8-sided die).

Skeleton Placement

Follow the rules for placing ghosts that cannot be placed on an already full board, above.

Throwing Curses

When Wu-Feng is allowed to throw a Curse of the color of his choice due to the new Ghost ability, the Undertaker incarnation of Wu-Feng, or the Cursed Tablet Catacombs token, he throws the highest possible Curse available to him which he can legally throw. If several Curses meet these criteria, select one at random.

Curses targeting Bloody Mantras: Choose the Bloody Mantra with the most Qi placed on it, defaulting to the higher level Mantra if there is a tie (choose randomly if still a tie).

Curses targeting any Taoist: Choose randomly amongst the human players (i.e. not neutral boards).

Move a Ghost to a free space (Rank 2 yellow Curse): Only move a Ghost if doing so would overrun a board.

Move a Taoist to any space of the Catacombs board (Rank 2 green Curse): Randomly choose any space but the center (black) space (you may wish to roll an 8-sided die).

Activate a Demon (Rank 2 green Curse; also an ability of several of the new Ghosts): Choose the Demon on the lowest pile of tokens in a space not occupied by a Taoist first, then a Demon not on the same space as a Taoist. Otherwise choose randomly.

Place in the Village any Ghost in the discard pile (Rank 3 yellow Curse): Choose randomly from amongst the Ghosts with the highest resistance, defaulting to a black ghost if possible.

Summon all available Demons and Discard one pile of Catacomb tokens (Rank 4 black Curses): Remove these Curses from play when the Shadow of Wu-Feng enters play.

New Wu-Feng Incarnations

Puppet Master: Place the Skeleton tokens one at a time, following the rules above.

Restless Seeker: Randomly select the pile from amongst the largest piles remaining, giving preference to those piles on spaces not currently occupied by a Demon.
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This will be one of the 1st things that I play test after I am able to pre-order the game!


Thanks a lot
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Pol Michiels
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Nice work, I knew someone would rise to the challenge.

Some remarks:

Do you really mean that when a summon card is turned over, all incarnations in Wu-Fengs hand get put into play? That would be a lot tougher than playing with a Wu-Feng player, since he only gets to choose one, and depending on the curses and such that add incarnations to this hand, may just be too harsh. Maybe go with the incarnation of the color that players have the fewest Tao tokens for?

I think your script will result in very few actual ghosts on the board. Maybe something like: when you draw a ghost, if there are no ghosts on the board it should go on, put it into play, if there are ghosts on that board, and a curse of the same level and color is available, play that curse. If no curse is available, but a demon is, put the demon into play. Again, play experience may prove me wrong, but I think a Wu Feng player will want some ghosts (especially haunters, devourers, maybe some tormentors) on the board to occupy the taoists while the demons bury underground, if not the entire game will be played in the catacombs. So maybe an addendum that if a haunter is drawn, and no haunters are present on the board, place it on the board anyway.

Why do the players lose instantly when the Shadow of Wu Feng enters play? I do agree it would be difficult to automate, with all the options available to it, but how about: the shadow of Wu Feng Will always move to the active player's position, and attack them? This seems in many cases the best option.

Hope this helps...
 
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Galen Ciscell
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Boscrossos wrote:
Nice work, I knew someone would rise to the challenge.


Hi Pol! Thanks for the insightful comments! Let me address them one at a time.

Boscrossos wrote:
Do you really mean that when a summon card is turned over, all incarnations in Wu-Fengs hand get put into play? That would be a lot tougher than playing with a Wu-Feng player, since he only gets to choose one, and depending on the curses and such that add incarnations to this hand, may just be too harsh. Maybe go with the incarnation of the color that players have the fewest Tao tokens for?


Yes, I actually mean put them all into play. My reasoning was that the automated Wu-Feng will by default be a weaker challenge than a Wu-Feng run by a live person, so I wanted to build in some extra difficulty to bridge that gap. This seemed like an easy and fun way of doing that (everyone loves fighting incarnations of Wu-Feng!). That said, I'll certainly keep in mind your ideas once we all have a chance to actually playtest this with the game, once it is released - it may be that the current iteration of this rule is indeed way to challenging for the Taoists!

Boscrossos wrote:
I think your script will result in very few actual ghosts on the board. Maybe something like: when you draw a ghost, if there are no ghosts on the board it should go on, put it into play, if there are ghosts on that board, and a curse of the same level and color is available, play that curse. If no curse is available, but a demon is, put the demon into play. Again, play experience may prove me wrong, but I think a Wu Feng player will want some ghosts (especially haunters, devourers, maybe some tormentors) on the board to occupy the taoists while the demons bury underground, if not the entire game will be played in the catacombs. So maybe an addendum that if a haunter is drawn, and no haunters are present on the board, place it on the board anyway.


To some extent I am Ok with this - I want there to be a fair amount of Curses being thrown and action in the Catacombs. Otherwise, why play with the expansion? And especially with Wu-Feng winning (at least as I currently have it) when all three urns are discovered, I want that possibility to be a real threat to the Taoists - so lots of demon activity is important. That said, your suggestion that finding a way to ensure that haunters, devourers and tormentors (and perhaps a few other types of ghosts) always make it into play is a good one. I think we all know there are certain ghosts that are less powerful than others. Care to take a stab at writing up a comprehensive list of which types of ghosts should always be played to the board?

Again, playtesting will be awesome to determine if the current automation rules do indeed result in too few ghosts on the board.

Boscrossos wrote:
Why do the players lose instantly when the Shadow of Wu Feng enters play? I do agree it would be difficult to automate, with all the options available to it, but how about: the shadow of Wu Feng Will always move to the active player's position, and attack them? This seems in many cases the best option.


I considered something like this, but technically the Shadow can only move OR attack, not both. Which is fine when a live person can coordinate moving onto player B's tile on player A's turn, then attacking player B on player B's turn. But automating this sort of strategy is tough. Also, having the players lose when the Shadow comes out seemed like another means of upping the difficulty and keeping the pressure on players to not ignore the Catacombs (which are one of the primary aspects of this expansion). That said (and I see this is becoming a trend) playtesting should tell whether this is too harsh or not! The game just needs to release already!

Boscrossos wrote:
Hope this helps...


Very much so, thank you for the suggestions!

Galen
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gciscell wrote:


Yes, I actually mean put them all into play. My reasoning was that the automated Wu-Feng will by default be a weaker challenge than a Wu-Feng run by a live person, so I wanted to build in some extra difficulty to bridge that gap. This seemed like an easy and fun way of doing that (everyone loves fighting incarnations of Wu-Feng!). That said, I'll certainly keep in mind your ideas once we all have a chance to actually playtest this with the game, once it is released - it may be that the current iteration of this rule is indeed way to challenging for the Taoists!


All right! Game mechanics discussion! My favorite passtime! laugh

I've actually tried adding extra incarnations of Wu Feng to the deck in some games, because I loved the idea of these "Boss Ghosts". I have found, however, that while you can add more, keeping a spacing of about 10 ghosts between them seems like a good idea. Incarnations do nasty stuff, and unless you're lucky or doing extremely well, you're rarely prepared to fight more than one at a time, and building up takes time, which brings you closer to the next incarnation, and it's all downhill from there. While I agree that there are some incarnations that seem relatively easy to take down, imagine fighting the Dark Mistress (no tao token use) and the Creeping Horror (-1 die) at the same time. Or the Hope killer and the Uncatchable (it would take ages to build up enough to exorcise both). With the expansion, it gets worse. Voracious + the Green one that delays all taoists? And all the time these are on the board, more normal ghosts, curses and demons pile up.

Of course, the caveat is always to try it in play (assume this for the rest of my post), but if you want to add some extra challenge (which I agree may be needed with an automated enemy), just add one more summon card, spaced at 10 cards from the others, or add one and reduce the spacing to 9 or 8 cards (thus adding urgency).

gciscell wrote:

To some extent I am Ok with this - I want there to be a fair amount of Curses being thrown and action in the Catacombs. Otherwise, why play with the expansion? And especially with Wu-Feng winning (at least as I currently have it) when all three urns are discovered, I want that possibility to be a real threat to the Taoists - so lots of demon activity is important. That said, your suggestion that finding a way to ensure that haunters, devourers and tormentors (and perhaps a few other types of ghosts) always make it into play is a good one. I think we all know there are certain ghosts that are less powerful than others. Care to take a stab at writing up a comprehensive list of which types of ghosts should always be played to the board?

Again, playtesting will be awesome to determine if the current automation rules do indeed result in too few ghosts on the board.


Well, this is hard without knowing the effects of the curses. However, a demon is only in play until it is exorcised, and as such it might be good to have some ghosts in play to keep the taoists busy while our little minions dig underground, especially if those ghosts could haunt a tile, thus removing access ladders to the underground, or maul innocent vilagers so they don't aid those meddling taoists.

As such, I'd say: Always play Haunters and Devourers, at least. Tormentors should get played a lot in your system as well, since you can only rarely throw a level 4 curse (need a full pyramid), and depending on the effect of the curse, it may be preferable to just use that.

I'd say always play the extra ghost summoners. They're not strong, but they'll quickly add up, and give the taoists something to do. Besides, the next ghost can still be used for curses.

Black ghosts are where I have the most doubts. They are all, invariably, nasty stuff, but the allow you to play any curse of their level, which would mean a quicker filling pyramid, and thus quicker high level nasties. Personally, I would always play black ghosts, but draw a broader selection of curses for Wu-Feng, so he is more likely to have some left in the right colors.

On a final note, nothing adds urgency like an overrun board, so if a ghost would overrun a board, play it.

And actually, I'd give demon summoning priority over curses. You cannot summon endless demons anyway, and that way the catacombs will always be nice and lively. I get the impression the curses will have more subtle, minor effects, especially at the lower levels.

Sidenote: to randomize curses, etc, just lay them out in a row, and select the first applicable one.

gciscell wrote:

I considered something like this, but technically the Shadow can only move OR attack, not both. Which is fine when a live person can coordinate moving onto player B's tile on player A's turn, then attacking player B on player B's turn. But automating this sort of strategy is tough. Also, having the players lose when the Shadow comes out seemed like another means of upping the difficulty and keeping the pressure on players to not ignore the Catacombs (which are one of the primary aspects of this expansion).


As it is, though, it is too easy to lose a perfectly good game on a random unlucky chit draw. Make it hard, sure, but insta-loss for this does not appeal to me. Losing in Ghost Stories should be your own fault, giving you that "I'll do better next time" feel, not an "Oh well, too bad those tokens were badly shuffled".

How about this: The shadow of Wu-Feng never moves to the Catacombs (since he has no more function there). Every time it is activated, if a taoist is present on the same tile, attack that taoist with three dice (Qi loss for every black result). If no taoist is present, roll a die. On a red, blue, yellow or green, the shadow of Wu-Feng moves to that taoists space, and attacks them with one die (Qi loss on a roll of black). On a black or white, it rolls the curse die in its current spot.

When playing with fewer than 4 taoists, move the shadow to the player next in line from the color rolled, and apply Qi loss to the neutral board first, if no more Qi remains then to the taoist next in line.

This gives it a little extra bite (the one die attack) to make up for the lack of malevolent intelligence behind its movements.

gciscell wrote:
That said (and I see this is becoming a trend) playtesting should tell whether this is too harsh or not! The game just needs to release already!


Amen to that!
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This is cool. Maybe there should be like "optional rules", so the players can decide if they want a close to intelligence automated opponent, but they have to check many things, or a weaker opponent that it's easy to implement.

For instance, when playing with White Moon, one shouldn't place Haunters so that villagers flee towards the Portal if it can be avoided.

Also, if the Shadow of Wu Feng is not an auto-loss (I agree it shouldn't be), it should have things like "If only 1 Taoist is alive, attack him every turn". In other words, it should "shadow" the live Taoist, trying to get a win by knockout. Similarly, if two tiles are haunted, it should try to haunt a third one for the win.
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Ok, so after a couple plays of the game as the Wu-Feng payer I agree with Pol that certain ghosts really do need to see play. So today I decided to do a breakdown on the ghost deck, by resistance. I set aside all ghosts that would be auto-summoned according to the following guidelines:

The ghost:

1 Is Black -OR-
2 Is a Haunter -OR-
3 Is a Devourer -OR-
4 Draws another ghost

I included both the ghosts from the Guardhouse expansion (the "block a village tile from being" used ghosts) and White Moon (the Devourers).

With these ghosts gone, here is what the deck looks like:

Resistance 1: 4 ghosts left (out of 25): The ghosts that cannot be killed with dice. All other resistance 1 ghosts meet one of the criteria above.

Resistance 2: 16 ghosts left (out of 29 - 5 of which are from White Moon): The ghosts which activate a Demon and throw a Curse; the ghosts which block a village tile (Guardhouse); and the ghosts which roll the Curse Die upon being exorcised (2 of each color, 8 total).

Resistance 3: 0 ghosts left (out of 15). All ghosts with resistance 3 are Haunters or (if playing with White Moon) Devourers.

Resistance 4: 8 ghosts left (out of 10): The Tormentors and the ghosts which give 2 Tao tokens when exorcised. The other two ghosts are black (one haunts a tile, one makes all players lose a Tao token and is a Tormentor).

Given this breakdown (including the fact that ALL resistance 3 ghosts will get played to a board) my thoughts on a script for drawing ghosts now look like this:
_______

Wu-Feng follows the script below, in order, until an action has been chosen.

1. If the ghost is black play it, unless it would allow Wu-Feng to cast a level 4 Curse (in which case, cast the level 4 Curse).
2. If the ghost is a Haunter or Devourer, play it.
3. If the ghost summons another ghost, play it.
4. If the ghost would overrun a board, play it.
5. If the ghost could be used to summon a Demon, summon the highest-resistance Demon that could be summoned with that ghost.
6. If the ghost has resistance 1 or 2 and the color of the ghost matches an available Curse (one at the top of a stack), throw the highest possible Curse of that color.
7. Otherwise, play the ghost.

When placing a ghost, Wu-Feng places the ghost in the first open slot (from right to left) on the appropriate board.

A ghost that cannot be placed on the appropriate board (because it is already full) is placed on the board with the most ghosts already present, defaulting to the player to the left of the active player, then around to the left in the case of ties.
______

With this scheme there are 28 ghost cards (24 if not using the Guardhouse ghosts) which would likely be used to summon a Demon or throw a Curse and 51 ghost cards (41 if not using White Moon) which will always be played.

There are only 8 cards that can summon the level 3 Demon (all of them resistance 4 ghosts and 4 of them Tormentors, which it could be argued should fall into the "always played" group).

To increase the number of ghosts available to use on Curses or Demons, we could remove "draw an additional ghost" from the auto-play group and replace it with "lose your power." This puts 4 more ghosts back into play as possible Curse-throwers or Demon-summoners, while still keeping 6 "add-a-ghost" cards as auto-play (2 severed heads and the 4 cards that deny player powers).

My other adjustment with this scheme is to put ALL Curses at Wu-Feng's disposal from the start of the game:
______

Set-up

Place all Curses next to the Wu-Feng board, stacked in piles by color for each level.
______

This means that if it gets down to the level of throwing a Curse in the script, at least a Curse should actually get thrown. There's no intelligence to which Curse gets thrown, but at least with essentially infinite options, the AI is "smart" enough to throw a Curse rather than cast a weak ghost.

Ok, I think that is it for now.

Thoughts?

Galen
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Since I will be editing the initial post in this thread to reflect the most recent version of the Automated Wu-Feng variant, the original post of the (untested) variant is included here, for completeness:

Ok, now that the rules have been released I've taken a first stab at automating the Wu-Feng player so that the game can be played fully cooperatively while still taking advantage of all the cool new elements of Black Secret.

This rubric only covers the basic elements of Wu-Feng's actions. I haven't yet taken on the challenge of the various small effects that allow Wu-Feng to make significant choices. But for now, I'd love feedback on what I have so far!

Automated Wu-Feng

Draw a Ghost

If the color of the ghost matches an available Curse and its resistance is equal to or exactly one greater than that Curse, throw that Curse (if possible).

If no Curse fits the above description, Wu Feng summons a demon with resistance exactly equal to the resistance of the ghost, if possible.

Otherwise, Wu-Feng places the ghost in the first open slot (from left to right) on the appropriate board. A ghost which cannot be placed on an already full board is placed on a board which already has two ghosts if possible (defaulting to the player to the left of the active player, then around to the left), or a board with one ghost if there are no boards with two ghosts. If all boards are empty, the ghost is placed on the board to the left of the active player.

Summoning Demons

A summoned demon appears at the entrance closest to a pile of Catacomb tokens, giving preference to the pile with the fewest tokens remaining (or directly onto the lowest pile of tokens in the case of the Seeker demon with the ability to enter play anywhere).

Demon Actions

A demon on an unoccupied space with Catacomb tokens remaining on it searches the space.

A demon on a space occupied by one or more Taoists moves out of the space into an adjacent space with the lowest pile of Catacomb tokens if possible, or toward the nearest pile of Catacomb tokens. Exception: The Landscaper with the ability to search regardless of the presence of Taoists always does so.

Summoning an Incarnation


When Wu-Feng would summon an incarnation, after drawing a Wu-Feng card he puts all incarnations of Wu-Feng from his hand into play. Note: The curse of the Wu family (White Moon) operates as normal: draw and put into play the top card from the Incarnation draw pile.

The Shadow of Wu-Feng

If the Shadow of Wu-Feng enters play, the players immediately lose the game.

Ladders

If Wu-Feng is allowed to remove a Ladder, always remove the center Ladder, if possible. If the center Ladder in already removed, remove the Ladder under the active player if possible; or under another player (beginning to the left of the active player and on around). Otherwise, remove a Ladder at random.

Skeleton Placement

Follow the rules for placing ghosts which cannot be placed on an already full board, above.

Throwing Curses

When Wu-Feng is allowed to throw a Curse of the color of his choice due to the new ghost ability or the Cursed Tablet Catacombs token, he throws the highest possible Curse available to him which he can legally throw. If several Curses meet these criteria, select one at random.

New Wu-Feng Incarnations

Puppet Master: Place the Skeleton tokens one at a time, following the rules above.

Restless Seeker: Randomly select the pile from amongst the largest piles remaining, giving preference to those piles on spaces no occupied by a demon.

Undertaker: Change the first option in the Draw a Ghost section to read as follows:

If the resistance of the ghost is equal to or exactly one greater than any available Curse, throw that Curse (if possible). If several Curses meet these criteria, choose one at random from among the highest level Curses which meet these criteria.


 
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Ok, so I playtested the version above (see the initial post) with my fiancee this afternoon. The only difference is that we used Pol's original rules for the Shadow of Wu-Feng (attack with 1 die and 3 dice), instead of the 2 and 4 dice attacks you see above. I'll discuss that change below.

So we played Blue (double action) and Green (re-roll) on Normal mode. We won with 4 empty spots on the boards, 1 Qi each for Red, Green, and Blue, and Yellow dead. 1 Village tile was haunted and neither of us had our Yin-Yangs available (well, I guess Chelsie did after she killed the final incarnation, but anyway...). The point is it was a reasonably close game, but we definitely won and were't in dire danger of losing. Which is what I would expect from a Normal game of Ghost Stories.

The Demons uncovered the third urn about halfway through the game, bringing the Shadow of Wu-Feng into play. He didn't ever roll well enough to damage either of us, but he did take maybe 3-5 Qi from the neutral boards over the course of the game (we were playing that if he rolled a neutral board color, that board just automatically lost 1 Qi). He did a little damage with his Curse Die rolls, but not enough to put us in any real danger.

This is why I have changed the Shadow of Wu-Feng's attack to four dice on a Taoist he starts his turn with or 2 dice against a Taoist he moves to on his turn. If he's not a major threat, there's no reason to spend actions defending the Catacombs against the Demons (not to mention suffering the consequences for actually defeating some of them).

Otherwise, I think the variant is working pretty well. I'm going to try it on Nightmare mode (4 incarnations of Wu-Feng) next and see how tough that is...




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Brian M
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I'm really curious about this variant! We've disregarded Black Secrets so far since we're just not interested in turning it into a competitive game, but I'd love new options for Ghost Stories if it can work well with the automated Wu-Feng variant.
 
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StormKnight wrote:
I'm really curious about this variant! We've disregarded Black Secrets so far since we're just not interested in turning it into a competitive game, but I'd love new options for Ghost Stories if it can work well with the automated Wu-Feng variant.


Hi Brian,

Thanks!

I've playtested this variant about 4 times now (two player each time) and it seems to be working great! I just updated the initial post to reflect my most recent adjustments. I'll be play testing it with White Moon tonight and let you know how it goes!

Galen
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The REALLY Twisted Mind of Wu-Feng...
O.K. Let me begin by saying that these rules are GREAT. I played them twice, and they filled their purpose nicely. They incorporate all the new Black Secret stuff into a fully co-op game, they are balanced, and they are manageable. Full kudos to you, Galen, for your pioneering work here. Thank you. ^_^

That said, I felt that the Curses and Demons weren't utilized as fully as I'd hoped. This seemed to be especially true of the Landscaper, who almost NEVER saw play in either game. If you're gonna drag all this stuff out, it might as well see some playtime, right? ^_~ It also seemed that some 'random' choices made by Wu-Feng were clearly not what a 'real' enemy would have done. For example, when throwing the Curse to smite a Monk for 1 Qi, we 'randomly' rolled a Taoist with 3 Qi when there was another with just 1 Qi left (it would have resulted in his death). The level of challenge just wasn't what I was craving...

With that in mind, I set about to make some minor modifications to the ruleset presented above. My goal was to tip the ghost-play script ever so slightly more in favor of Demons and Curses, and to streamline the 'randomness' a little more heavily against the Monks. The majority of the changes here just 'help' the automated Wu-Feng decide where to throw his Curses or move his Demons or make his attacks, just to create a greater challenge for the players. The use of the Infernal Die really helps too...

I've been told I can get long-winded sometimes, and I apologize if my revisions seem too wordy or complexificated. ^_~ Don't be scared away though - it's not as bad as it looks. Most of the stuff is 'common sense', and becomes really intuitive after you've played with it a few times. I've played with these 'tweaked' rules three times now (all without White Moon though), with one Taoist win, one Taoist loss, and one game that was so close there was literally a 50-50% chance on the final turn that either side would take it (fate gave it to Wu-Feng).

Overall, I'm very pleased with the results. The Demons and Curses seem to get a beefier share of the action now, and 'Wu-Feng' definitely makes some diabolical 'choices' against the Taoists. I still plan to put it through more playtesting, of course, including with White Moon and Shadow Swords (which is sure to be nightmarish). I'd like to eventually make a spiffy-looking 'flowchart' with iconography and layout in the style of the 'player summaries' in the backs of the official rulebooks. Any feedback is openly welcomed.

Thank you again, Galen, for giving me a VERY solid foundation to build upon. You baked a spectacular cake, I'm just searching for the perfect flavor of icing to suit my gaming tastes. ^_^ Quoted below is the bulk of the 'original' ruleset, with my alterations in BOLD RED. Again, feedback is welcome.

^_^
-LordRaidor-

The Twisted Mind of Wu-Feng wrote:
SETUP

Insert one or more incarnations of Wu-Feng into the Ghost deck instead of the Summon cards, based on the difficulty level desired.

Place all remaining Curses next to the Wu-Feng board, stacked in piles by color for each level.

You may wish to keep several dice and a coin close at hand for randomly determining elements of Wu-Feng's turn.

Remove the Curse Die from the game, and use the INFERNAL DIE instead. If an INFERNAL DIE is not available, modify the results of the Cursed Die for the rest of this game as follows:
* Blank = Blank (unchanged)
* Haunt = Haunt a tile (unchanged)
* Ghost = Skeleton (place a Skeleton token, as explained below)
* -1 Qi = Curse (throw the highest level curse available, of a random color, as explained below)
* Tao Loss = Demon (activate a Demon, possibly the Shadow of Wu-Feng, as described below)


DRAWING A GHOST

Follow the script below, in order, until an action has been chosen.

1. If any conceivable use of the card would end the game, END THE GAME.
2. If the card would allow Wu-Feng to throw a level 4 Curse, throw the level 4 Curse.
3. If the Ghost is black, allows another Ghost to be drawn, or would overrun a board, then play it.
4. If the Ghost is a Haunter, Tormentor, or Devourer, roll a Tao die. If the result is blue, green, red, or yellow, play the Ghost. (If BLACK or WHITE is rolled, continue with the script.)
5. If the card could Summon a Demon, Summon the highest-resistance Demon possible.
6. If the Ghost has resistance 3 or less and the color of the Ghost matches an available Curse, throw the highest possible Curse of that color (from the top of the stack).
7. Play the Ghost.

PLACING GHOSTS/SKELETONS

When placing a Ghost on a board, Wu-Feng places the Ghost in the first open slot (from right to left) on the appropriate board, following all normal placement rules.

A Skeleton or a Ghost that cannot be placed on the appropriate board (because it is already full) is placed on the board with the most Ghosts/Skeletons already present, defaulting to the board whose yin phase has not yet begun, but will occur soonest in the expected turn order.

SUMMONING DEMONS

A summoned Demon appears at the entrance closest to a pile of Catacomb tokens, giving preference first to the pile with the fewest tokens remaining, then to spaces without Taoists or ladders. Otherwise, choose randomly (you may wish to flip a coin). [Exception: The Seeker with the ability to enter play anywhere always appears directly on the lowest pile of tokens in the Catacombs, with preference to spaces without Taoists or ladders.]

ACTIVATING DEMONS

A Demon on an unoccupied space with Catacomb tokens remaining on it searches the space.

A Demon on an empty space or on a space occupied by one or more Taoists moves out of the space toward the nearest pile of Catacomb tokens with fewer Demons present than tokens, with preference to spaces without Taoists or ladders. If several piles are equally close to the Demon, the Demon moves toward the smallest pile. If there is still a tie, roll randomly to determine the direction of the Demon's movement, with preference given to spaces without Taoists or ladders. [Exception: The Landscaper with the ability to search regardless of the presence of Taoists always does so.]

ADDING AN INCARNATION OF WU-FENG TO WU-FENG'S HAND

Whenever you would add an incarnation of Wu-Feng to Wu-Feng's hand because of a Catacomb tile or a Curse, instead draw and play the top card of the Ghost deck (do not use it to summon a Demon or throw a Curse).

THE SHADOW OF WU-FENG

If the Shadow of Wu-Feng activates on a tile with any Taoists present, it attacks those Taoists with three Tao dice (Qi loss on a roll of each black). Any Qi losses inflicted are always allocated first to the Taoist present with the lowest Qi (if tied, give preference to Taoists with the most Tao tokens, then break further ties randomly).

If no Taoist is present on the tile, and the tile is not haunted, roll the INFERNAL DIE (instead of the Curse Die), according to the rulebook. [Exception: If the active Taoist has 'Strength of the Mountain' (doesn't roll the Curse/Infernal Die) the Shadow of Wu-Feng will move instead, as below.]

If no Taoist is present on the tile, and the tile is already haunted, move the Shadow of Wu-Feng to a random Village tile that is NOT yet haunted, with preference given to locations with the greatest number of Taoists present. (If tied, move first toward Taoists with the least Qi, then the most Tao tokens, then break further ties randomly.)

LADDERS

If Wu-Feng is allowed to remove a Ladder, always remove the center Ladder, if possible. Otherwise, remove a Ladder at random, with preference to spaces with Catacomb tiles still present.

THROWING CURSES

When Wu-Feng is allowed to throw a Curse of the color of his choice due to the new Ghost ability, the Black Caster incarnation of Wu-Feng, or the Cursed Tablet Catacombs token, he throws the highest possible Curse available to him which he can legally throw. If several Curses meet these criteria, select one at random.

Curses targeting Bloody Mantras: Choose the Bloody Mantra with the most Qi placed on it, defaulting to the higher level Mantra if there is a tie (choose randomly if still a tie).

Curses targeting any Taoist:
...to move or lay down a Taoist = Choose the Taoist whose yang phase has not yet started, but will occur soonest in the expected turn order.
...to remove Tao tokens = Choose the Taoist with the most Tao tokens, and remove tokens corresponding to the greatest number of Ghosts of that color in play, if possible.
...to lose Qi = Choose the Taoist with the least Qi, with preference toward the most Tao tokens.
...to roll the INFERNAL DIE = Choose the Taoist on an unhaunted tile (if possible) with the MOST Qi, then the most Tao tokens. [Exception: Wu-Feng will not choose a Taoist with 'Strength of the Mountain' (doesn't roll the Curse/Infernal Die) unless there is no other choice.]
...to lose Yin/Yang = Choose the Taoist with the MOST Qi (and his Ying/Yang, obviously), with preference toward the most Tao tokens.


Move a Ghost to a free space (Rank 2 yellow Curse): If possible, move a Ghost from the board with the fewest Ghosts (preferably a a Haunter, Tormentor, or Devourer) to overrun a board whose yin phase has not yet begun, but will occur soonest in the expected turn order. If moving a Ghost will not overrun a board, then move a Haunter, Tormentor, or Devourer (in that order of preference, ideally a Haunter that is already off its card and onto a haunting stone), that is FARTHEST from having its next yin-phase activation to an open space where it will have the SOONEST possible yin-phase activation. If no board can be overrun, and no Haunter, Tormentor, or Devourer can be moved to an earlier activation, move a random Ghost from the LEAST populated board onto the MOST populated board (in favor of the earliest yin-phase activation possible).

Move a Taoist to any space of the Catacombs board (Rank 2 green Curse): Randomly choose any corner space, with preference to spaces without Catacomb tokens, Demons, or ladders, in that order.

Move the Portal (Rank 4 black Curse [WM]): Randomly choose a corner space, with preference to a space that is haunted or has the fewest villagers, in that order.


Activate a Demon (Rank 2 green Curse; also an ability of several of the new Ghosts): Choose the Demon on the lowest pile of tokens in a space not occupied by a Taoist first (with preference toward the lowest resistance Demon possible), or else a Demon on the same space as a Taoist but no Catacomb tokens. Otherwise choose randomly.

Place in the Village any Ghost in the discard pile (Rank 3 yellow Curse): Choose randomly from amongst the Ghosts with the highest resistance, defaulting to a black ghost if possible.

Summon all available Demons and Discard one pile of Catacomb tokens (Rank 4 black Curses): Remove these Curses from play when the Shadow of Wu-Feng enters play.

NEW WU-FENG INCARNATIONS

Puppet Master: Place the Skeleton tokens one at a time, following the rules above.

Restless Seeker: Randomly select the pile from amongst the largest piles remaining, giving preference to those piles on spaces not currently occupied by a Demon.


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Galen Ciscell
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Auburn
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Check out my game, Atlantis Rising! :)
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Great changes for a more "intelligent" Wu-Feng. My design goal was to create a reasonably difficult Wu-Feng without a lot of difficult flow-charts but I think you've managed to create an even more diabolical enemy with very few added layers of complexity! Great job - I can't wait to try it out!

Galen
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Matthew Freilich
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I was thinking. For a fun challenge; instead of choosing the curse die OR infernal die, Wu-Feng can roll both (if you have them).

There's a few ways this could work with varying difficulty:

A) Wu-Feng rolls both Curse and Infernal die and would use both results.
B) Wu-Feng rolls both Curse and Infernal die and only one result is chosen. (This would require some deliberation or a coin flip)
Of course blank rolls are ignored.

I'd say that the effects should be applied one at a time, in the order of Curse die THEN Infernal die.

I also realize that this CAN create a very punishing situation if you roll doubles of the haunt tile faces. I suppose if you really want to keep it this way, good luck... however I came up with a couple alternatives.

A) If both die come up with haunt a tile, simply haunt a single tile.
B) If both die come up with haunt a tile, choose one or both of the die (up to you) and re-roll it.

The Green Taoist powers would still apply; either allowing a forced re-roll of one or both black die, or stopping the rolls completely (pending on which power Green is using).

Any thoughts on this?

 
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